# Electromagnetic Fields

© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 5
Review: Electrostatics and Magnetostatics

In the static regime, electromagnetic quantities do not vary as a
function of time. We have two main cases:

ELECTROSTATICS – The electric charges do not change
postion in time. Therefore, ρ, E and D are constant and there is no
magnetic field H, since there is no current density J.

MAGNETOSTATICS – The charge crossing a given cross-
section (current) does not vary in time. Therefore, J, H and B are
constant. Although charges are moving, the steady current
maintains a constant charge density ρ in space and the electric
field E is static.
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 6
The equations of electrostatics are obtained directly from Maxwell’s
equations, by assuming that ∂/∂t , J, H and B are all zero:

The electrostatic force is simply

We also define the electrostatic potential φ by the relationship
E

= −∇φ
F q E

=
0
0
E
D
D E

∇× =
∇ ⋅ =
= ε
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 7
The electrostatic potential φ is a scalar function of space. From
vector calculus we know that

This potential is very convenient for practical applications because
it is a scalar quantity. The potential automatically satisfies
Maxwell’s curl equation for the electric field, since

From a physical point of view, the electrostatic potential provides
an immediate way to express the work W performed by moving a
charge from location a to location b:
Here, l is the coordinate along the path. The negative sign indicates
that the work is done against the electrical force.
b
a
W F d l

= − ⋅

0 E

∇× = −∇×∇φ =
0 ∇×∇φ =
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 8
By introducing the electrostatic potential, we obtain

NOTE: The line integral of a gradient does not depend on the path
of integration but only on the potential at the end points of the path.

The electrostatic potential is measured with respect to an arbitrary
reference value. We can assume for most problems that a
convenient reference is a zero potential at an infinite distance. In
the result above for the electrostatic work, we could set a zero
potential at the initial point of the path, so that φ(a)=0. Either
choice of potential reference would give the same potential
difference δφ.
( ) ( ) | |
b b
a a
W q E dl q dl q b a q

= − ⋅ = ∇φ⋅ = φ − φ = δφ
∫ ∫
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 9
It is quite convenient to express also the divergence equation in
terms of the electrostatic potential. If we assume a uniform material
medium:

This result yields the well known Poisson equation

In the case of ρ = 0, we have the classic Laplace equation

2
0 ∇ φ =
2
ρ
∇ φ = −
ε
2
D E

∇⋅ = ε ∇⋅ = −ε ∇⋅ ∇φ = −ε ∇ φ = ρ
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 10
If the problem involves a non-uniform medium with varying
dielectric permittivity, a more general form of Poisson equation
must be used

Another important equation is obtained by integrating the
divergence over a certain volume V

Gauss theorem allows us to transform the volume integral of the
divergence into a surface integral of the flux

V V
D dV dV

∇ ⋅ = ρ
∫ ∫
V S
D dV D dS

∇ ⋅ = ⋅
∫ ∫
Component normal
to the surface
( )
∇ ⋅ ε ∇φ = −ρ
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 11
The volume integral of the charge density is simply the total charge
Q contained inside the volume

The final result is the integral form of Poisson equation, known as
Gauss law:

Most electrostatic problems can be solved by direct application of
Poisson equation or of Gauss law.

Analytical solutions are usually possible only for simplified
geometries and charge distributions, and numerical solutions are
necessary for most general problems.
S
D dS Q

⋅ =

V
dV Q ρ =

Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 12
The Gauss law provides a direct way to determine the force
between charges. Let's consider a sphere with radius r surround-
ing a charge Q
1
located at the center. The displacement vector will
be uniform and radially directed, anywhere on the sphere surface,
so that

Assuming a uniform isotropic medium, we have a radial electric
field with strength
If a second charge Q
2
is placed at distance r from Q
1
the mutual
force has strength
( )
1 2
2
2
4
Q Q
F Q E r
r

= =
π ε
( )
1
2
4
D
Q
E r
r

= =
ε
π ε
2
1
4
S
D dS r D Q

⋅ = π =

Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 13
The electrostatic potential due to a charge Q can be obtained using
the previous result for the electrostatic work:

where r indicates the distance of the observation point b from the
charge location, and a is a reference point. If we chose the
reference point a → ∞ , with a reference potential φ(a) = 0, we can
express the potential at distance r from the charge Q as
( )
4
Q
r
r
φ =
π ε
( ) ( ) ( )
( )
2
4
1 1
4
b b
a a
a b
Q
b a E dr a dr
r
Q
a
r r

φ = φ − = φ −
π ε
(
= φ + −
(
π ε
¸ ¸
∫ ∫
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 14
The potential φ indicates then the work necessary to move an
infinitesimal positive probe charge from distance r (point b) to
infinity (point a) for negative Q, or conversely to move the probe
from infinity to distance r for positive Q (remember that the work is
done against the field). The probe charge should be infinitesimal,
not to perturb the potential established by the charge Q.

The work per unit charge done by the fields to move a probe charge
between two points, is usually called Electromotive Force ( emf ).
Dimensionally, the emf really represents work rather than an actual
force.

The work per unit charge done against the fields represents the
voltage V
ba
between the two points, so that:

b
ba
a
emf E d l V

= ⋅ = −

Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 15
In electrostatics, there is no difference between voltage and
potential. To summarize once again, using formulas, we have

a b
a b
E d l E d l

∞ ∞
φ = − ⋅ φ = − ⋅
∫ ∫
Potential at point “ a ” Potential at point “ b ”
( )
. . .
b
b a ba
a
V E d l e m f

φ − φ = = − ⋅ = −

Potential difference or Voltage between “ a ” and “ b
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 16
In the case of more than one point charge, the separate potentials
due to each charge can be added to obtain the total potential

If the charge is distributed in space with a density ρ(x,y,z), one
needs to integrate over the volume as

( )
1
, ,
4
i
i
i
Q
x y z
r
φ =
π ε

( )
( )
', ', '
1
, ,
4
V
x y z
x y z dV
r
ρ
φ =
π ε

Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 17
In the magnetostatic regime, there are steady currents in the
system under consideration, which generate magnetic fields (we
ignore at this point the case of ferromagnetic media). The full set of
Maxwell's equations is considered (setting ∂/∂t = 0 )

with the complete Lorentz force
( )
F q E v B

= + ×
0
0
E
H J
D
B
D E
B H

∇× =
∇× =
∇ ⋅ = ρ
∇ ⋅ =
= ε
= µ
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 18
It is desirable to find also for the magnetic field a potential function.
However, note that such a potential cannot be a scalar, as we found
for the electrostatic field, since

We define a magnetic vector potential A through the relation

This definition automatically satisfies the condition of zero
divergence for the induction field, since

The divergence of a curl is always = 0
( )
0 B A

∇ ⋅ = ∇ ⋅ ∇× =
∇ × = =

A B H µ
Current density is a vector ≠ 0
∇ × =

H J
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 19
The vector potential can be introduced in the curl equation for the
magnetic field

However, in order to completely specify the magnetic vector
potential, we need to specify also its divergence. First, we observe
that the definition of the vector potential is not unique since:

ψ = Scalar function
Always = 0
( )
( )
' A A A A

∇× = ∇× + ∇ψ = ∇× + ∇× ∇ψ = ∇×
( ) ( )
2
1 1 1
H B A A A J

∇× = ∇× = ∇× ∇× = ∇ ∇ ⋅ − ∇ =
µ µ µ
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 20
In the magnetostatic case it is sufficient to specify (in physics
terminology: to choose the gauge)

so that

We simply need to make sure that the arbitrary function ψ satisfies

We can then simplify the previous result for the curl equation to

the magnetic equivalent of the electrostatic Poisson equation.
∇ = −
2

A J µ
∇ =
2
0 ψ
( )
2
0 A A A A

∇ ⋅ = ∇ ⋅ + ∇ψ = ∇ ⋅ + ∇ ⋅ ∇ψ = ∇ ⋅ + ∇ ψ =
0 A

∇ ⋅ =
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 21
The general solution of this vector Laplacian equation is given by

which is similar to the formal solution obtained before for the
electrostatic potential for a distributed charge. If the current is
confined to a wire with cross-sectional area S and described by a
curvilinear coordinate l, we can write

with a final result
(note that the total current I is constant at any wire location).
( )
, ,
4
l
I dl
A x y z
r

µ
=
π

I I J S dV S dl

= = ⋅ = ⋅
( )
( )
', ', '
, ,
4
V
J x y z
A x y z dV
r

µ
=
π

Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 22
The solution for the magnetic field obtained from the vector
potential leads to the famous Biot-Savart law:

r
I
dl
(x,y,z)

i
r
2
1
4 4
ˆ
1
4 4
l l
r
l l
B I dl I dl
H A
r r
I I dl i
dl
r
r

| |
= = ∇× = ∇× = ∇×
|
µ µ π π
\ .
×
| |
= − ∇ × =
|
π π
\ .
∫ ∫
∫ ∫
Electromagnetic Fields
© Amanogawa, 2006 – Digital Maestro Series 23
The magnetic field can also be determined by direct integration of
the curl equation over a surface

Stoke's theorem can be used to transform the left hand side of the
equation, to obtain the integral form of Ampere's law

In many applications it is useful to determine the magnetic flux
through a given surface. The vector potential can be used to
modify a surface integral into a surface integral, using again
Stoke's theorem

l
H dl I

⋅ =

S S
H dS J dS I

∇× ⋅ = ⋅ =
∫ ∫
Magnetic Flux
S S l
B dS A dS A dl

= ⋅ = ∇× ⋅ = ⋅
∫ ∫ ∫